Sunday, December 13, 2015

COP-21 Sequel ..New Slate of Leaders

Beholden to corporate contributions and party dogma, Obama, Merkel and Trudeau together with Ban Ki-moon are unable to unshackle themselves from the hot fission/fusion myths of clean, cheap and safe energy production; all the while, ignoring the real risks of melt-downs, storage of lethal wastes and sabotage -and continuing to promote deferred and sub-optimal solutions to rising temperatures and attendant pollution.

True renewables and emerging LENR-type energy are affordable for poorer nations, are able to address climate change more effectively and sooner, and are safe for the environment and for humanity.

As fossil fuel burning has long been identified as the major villain in environmental and health degradation, let’s now out the politicians, the billionaires, NGOs and yes, the UN for championing further buildout of new nuclear reactors as well as the risky practice of extending operational life spans of over-age ones, and for the rush to create geological dumps for ever-accumulating radioactive wastes.

Not alarmed? Then, read about the latest reactor scare in Belgium, and that country's reluctance to decommission aged reactors with flaws in their containment shells. Excerpts: "Of most concern are the cracks found in the walls of pressure vessels, the part of reactors where the highly radioactive chain reaction takes place...and which could cause catastrophic release of radioactive contamination. The discovery of cracks in the reactors could be a problem for the entire global nuclear industry."

Belgium's Nuclear Control Agency approved a restart in mid-November, "calling it totally safe" after running untrasonic tests. The US Nuclear Regulating Commission resists the European call for routine ultrasonic testing. And, it is not clear whether the IAEA intends to intervene.

Oh yes, Belgium makes its neighbours more nervous by approving operational extension of its 7 nuclear plants to 2025 -ten years beyond their 40-year design life span! France plans on reducing dependancy on nuclear power from the present 75% to 50% by 2025. Germany is well on track to phase out its few remaining reactors by 2023. And, with Fukushima radioactive leaks remaining unchecked, some Japanese politicians and nuclear industries press for a re-start of remaining reactors.
Sadly, Ontario's Government, in being responsible for one of the world's largest and oldest nuclear compounds, is replicating the Belgian playbook.
Concrete problems in a nuclear containment dome near Montreal raise broader safety concerns:

If elite scientists advocating faster nuclear growth would publically acknowledge that nuclear is potentially more devastating to the planet and to its population centers than fossil fuels, then that would be real progress. Scan a credible study that concludes: "Science may be a noble discipline based on cold logic and rational observation; but humans are animals fueled by emotion and bias. The idiosyncratic stances of individual scientists can do much to alter, or at least delay, the course of scientific advance."

The 196-nation accord on some reductions in man-made CO2 by 2099 noless, is ill-conceived in (1) that it runs 3 generations into the foggy future, and (2) that the scientific jury on CO2 damage to the atmosphere is still out.
No signatories to the COP-21 accord will be living by Century's end. And with their plan, signifiant changes in energy generation and deployment will not arrive soon enough, certainly not at the scale required.
In any case, an antidote administered too late, never saved the patient; hence the admonition to prescribers, DO NO HARM.

Resolution of the world's environmental, health and security issues, boils down to prompt implementation of affordable, clean, reliable and safe energy production. Such criteria, does not accommodate the present coal and nuclear fuel mix -diluted slightly by solar/wind renewables. Clean and non-radioactive ways of generating heat and electricity are being readied for market by firms like Brillouin, Industrial Heat and BlackLight Power.

We-the-people have to somehow generate early action (and reasonable timelines) for the phase out of both coal and nuclear; else, unrealistic political talk seals a horrible fate for many.
Starting this holiday season, let's alert valued associates and friends to the leadership troubles in blunderland -and resolve to engage the media and politicians from our respective silos. Presence matters.

As the 2015 sun sets on the UN's Millenium Development Goals, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) takes 6 pages to present its case.
Sure, even in the face of early 21st Century realities, the IAEA is bound to make a case for its unaltered existence. All the more reason to advocate for new leadership at the UN helm to turn its dreadnaught agency around, or at least reduce its mass and redirect its course. See December 2014 blog post:

Observations and Reflections
Twenty-six years ago, my career silo crumbled upon retirement -and suddelny new vistas of writing and advocacy opened up.
At this seasonal time of reflection those immersed in their own career silos, might ponder the words of fellow-Canadian, Dave Pollard.
He talks of "a doorway not entered" and I, of "windowless silos impeding outside awareness and engagement."
His # 11 paradox of presence is applicable to corporate silos: "What holds most of us back, it seems, is fear of loss of identity, or pride in or attachment to our current identity, yet that identity is just a fiction; still, we are unable to let go of the story of our identity..."

Silo-dwellers are focused on job responsibilities and don't take the time to track unfolding energy events already impacting markets and jobs. With cheap oil, rising electricity costs and as risky atomic plants degenerate, an affordable, non-polluting, non-radioactive source of distributed heat and electricity suddenly appears.
Still, atomic regulatory authorities routinely rubber-stamp operational extensions on a global fleet of aged reactors -many of which were built in the eary 1970s with design life spans of 40 years!

The IAEA reports in November 2015,"There are 441 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries today, while 65 reactors are under construction." But, it neglects to publish the number de-commissioned or the number given operational extensions.

Anyone working or living near -or downwind- of a nuclear complex should familiarize themselves with the 24-hour window and availability of potassium iodide pills. Here is a link to information and warnings provided by the US Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.


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